CNG station offers cheaper alternative

Weber State University is home to Ogden’s third compressed natural gas fueling station. The CNG fueling station opened Oct. 3, and operates four pumps 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The station is located south of University Village at 4760 Old Post Road. Questar Gas matched funds provided by a federal grant to help develop the fueling station. Currently, the station only accepts credit or debit cards.

The WSU shuttle system operates four 20-passenger Ford hybrid fuel mini-buses that run on CNG and gasoline.

“I didn’t know the shuttles ran on natural gas; it makes taking the shuttle every day sound that much better,” said Tayler Frye, a WSU junior. “If I can help the environment, it’s worth waiting in the cold a little longer.”

The U.S. Department of Energy released the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report in July, reporting that the national average for CNG is at $2.05 per gasoline gallon equivalent, and regular gasoline at $3.52 per gallon.

“Gas prices are so high right now, I end up carpooling with my roommates,” said Kassy Sherman, a WSU junior. “We end up piling everyone into one car and take turns driving because no one can afford to drive themselves each day.”

The benefits for driving a CNG vehicle are felt not only in the wallet, but in the environment as well. CNG vehicles produce lower levels of emissions and produce no evaporative emissions. Eligible CNG vehicles may be able to receive the Utah Clean Fuel Tax Credit. Vehicles eligible for the Utah Clean Fuel Tax Credit can be viewed at www.cleanfuels.utah.gov/taxcredits/taxcreditsintro.htm.

Tom Randal, an Ogden community member, purchased a 2011 Ford Escape that runs on CNG.

“I received almost $1,000 in tax credits when I purchased the new car,” Randal said. “I commute from Salt Lake to Idaho each week, and I was paying way too much in gas; switching to natural was the best choice for me and (my) job.”

Three types of vehicles use natural gas. Dedicated vehicles can run on purely natural gas, and bi-fuel vehicles have two different fueling tanks that allow them to run on natural gas and gasoline. Dual fuel is limited to heavy-duty vehicles and can run on natural gas, but uses diesel fuel for ignition. Honda recently released the 2012 Civic, which runs purely on natural gas, starting at more than $26,000.

“If I could afford a natural gas car to begin with, I’d probably buy one,” Sherman said. “But right now, that doesn’t quite fit in my college budget.”

Utahcleancities.org estimated that, by the end of 2012, there will be 35 public-access CNG fueling stations and more than 50 privately owned stations in Utah.

“It really only takes a few people changing their habits to make a difference; drive less, or switch your fuel source,” Randal said. “I’d like to leave a good planet for my grandchildren to grow up in.”